The transition process from a diffuser rotating stall to a stage stall in a centrifugal compressor with a vaned diffuser was investigated by experimental and numerical analyses. From the velocity measurements, it was found that the rotating stall existed on the shroud side of the diffuser passage in the off-design flow condition. The numerical results revealed the typical vortical structure of the diffuser stall. The diffuser stall cell was caused by the systematic vortical structure which consisted of the tornado-type vortex, the longitudinal vortex at the shroud/suction surface corner (i.e., leading edge vortex (LEV)), and the vortex in the throat area of the diffuser passages. Furthermore, the stage stall, which rotated within both the impeller and diffuser passages, occurred instead of the diffuser stall as the mass flow rate was decreased. According to the velocity measurements at the diffuser inlet, the diffuser stall which rotated on the shroud side was shifted to the hub side. Then, the diffuser stall moved into the impeller passages and formed the stage stall. Therefore, the stage stall was caused by the development of the diffuser stall, which transferred from the shroud side to the hub side in the vaneless space and expanded to the impeller passages.
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